Mickey Rourke has been a motorcycle guy for most of his life. He has a reputation for living on the edge in his personal life, and some of that energy is brought out in the many characters he's portrayed on film. He's starred in lots of action flicks and has a strong presence on the big screen that has made him famous for playing hardcore types for the bulk of his career.
One of his most famous roles was his character Harley Davidson in the film Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man, in which he co-starred with Don Johnson. Although it didn't garner tons of praise from critics and was probably never part of the Oscar-buzz of 1991, it has become a cult classic of sorts with Harley-Davidson fans all over the world.
Although it was probably not the intention of the filmmakers, the rigid-convert FXR that Mickey rode in the film has become nearly as famous as the Captain America bike that Peter Fonda rode in the movie Easy Rider. And, just like Captain America, there have been dozens of attempts at creating copies of Harley Davidson's bike, but none of them have hit the mark -- until now.
Mickey got together with Black Death Motorcycles and Carefree Custom Cycles, to build the most authentic re-creations of this two-wheeled piece of cinematic history. Every thing about the bike had to be just right, and the day our photographer dropped in to shoot these photos, he found Mickey's new bike parked along side of the original that was used in the movie.
After viewing the two of them for a few minutes, our photographer gave up and had to ask Black Death fabricator, Johnny McMichael, to tell him which bike was which. Had he traveled over to the primary drive side first, he would have seen the Black Death Motorcycles logo on the derby cover, but that side was intentionally parked against the wall to make things harder.
Black Death started with an FXR frame of its own design and went from there. The frame was boxed and molded to clean it up, and the steering neck was raked out to an angle that Black Death refuses to disclose. You'll have to take your own measurements to figure out that little trade secret, but the solid struts that replaced the shocks, the natural metal finish, and graphics, are just as they appeared on screen.
A lot has happened in the 12 years since the first bike was seen by the public, which explains the use of Mid-USA's potent 114-inch Powerhouse engine used in the new machine. Streetable V-twins of this size simply did not exist back in 1991, but Mickey wanted his new ride to give him an even bigger rush than he got from the old one. Designed by Vern Ott, the Powerhouse engine can rev to limits that would make a standard V-twin explode into thousands of pieces, and is capable of cranking out a verified 135 hp at the rear wheel. If you haven't seen one of these engines in person, you're really missing out.
The indestructible Falicon crankshaft assembly can easily hit 9,000 rpm without failure, but still has a very nice torque curve at lower speeds -- just what Mickey ordered. Rick Riddle at Black Death put together a five-speed trans for the bike, using a Delkron case that he stuffed with an Andrews gearset and Primo open belt primary drive, to tie it into the motor. From all outward appearances, the engine looks like the original, but there is a lot more power to be found inside when the throttle is twisted.
A set of stock H-D fuel tanks were heavily modified, and custom mounts were added to make them fit the frame exactly as they should. Black Death also did a great job of re-creating the rear section of the bike, which includes the rear fender, seat, and custom side covers with chrome inserts. The bodywork was turned over to Jason and Phil Smith of Cougar Ridge Rod Shop for the graphics and clear coating operations.
When people see Mickey riding the bike, they are surprised to find that it's not the original, but rather a painstakingly researched copy approved by Harley Davidson himself. Interested in picking one up for yourself? Log onto www.blackdeathmotorcycles.com or call (623) 209-0060 for more information.
|Make:||Mickey Rourke's Black Death Motorcycles|
|Fabrication :||Johnny McMichael, Rick Riddle, and Carefree Custom Cycles|
|Assembly:||Pro Paint and Fabrication|
|Heads:||Mid-USA; Cylinders: Mid-USA|
|Valves:||Mid-USA; Pushrods: Mid-USA|
|Carburetor/Injection:||S&S; Super "G"|
|Case:||Delkron Gearset:| Andrews|
|Final Drive:||H-D belt|
|Builder:||Black Death Motorcycles|
|Modifications:||Frenched side covers, boxed neck, and custom tank mounts|
|Swingarm:||Black Death Motorcycles|
|Fender: Black Death Motorcycles|
|Oil Tank:||H-D Fuel|
|Painter:||Jason and Phil Smith/Cougar Ridge Rod Shop|
|Chrome:||Alberta Powdercoat:| Bearcoat|
|Special Thanks : Chuck Zito, Damiano, Walt, WW Customs, Spencer Vermuele, Tony Abbrueze, Carefree Custom Cycles|